in the face
towards the light
in the face
towards the light
And I’m hungry for my garden and sun on my skin and bare feet and sundresses. March moved past in a whirlwind of wind that tore my to-do list right out of my hands and sent it flying to faraway places.
I sat still, holding books and yarn, seed catalogs and fabric, pencil and mouse. My mind feels empty, clean-slated and wandering, these four walls have been traced and memorized enough to be taken for granted. The fire still draws me near, but in a different way, now. Less for warmth than companionship, and I listen for the sound of distant drums.
All the pieces are in place except the queen herself, and she keeps us all waiting with no compunction. I know she is busy threading storm through lightning needle, whipping up concoctions of rain and ice, spilling tears and howling fury as she moves through the season of change. I bow to her strength and beauty, even as she tries my patience.
I hear roots whispering just below the surface, planning parties of revenge on winter’s cold shoulder. Soon, grey will be forgotten, and white will hide in shaded bed and lost corner. The moon tries hard to reassure, patting arms and tut-tutting tiny phrases of comfort, as Mars and Venus play coy across the sky.
March is February’s redux, a second chance at learning silence. Or patience. Or winter’s puzzle.
I watch the bold red cardinal feed his mate a bit of seed and admire his sacrifice.
Hunger is a hollow word, echoing hope through empty chambers.
Life moves forward with each turn of the earth.
My hands grow idle and I watch the show, smiling as the sun parts night’s black curtain for yet another encore.
your eyes are the sea
i’ve never seen
bits of sand and salt
mixed with horizon
and i stand
on the shore
and maybe even
wanting to dive
into the heart tide
crash myself back
polishing our scars
into your landscape
for more light
So I’m reading this book, H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald, which is wonderfully written and interesting and beautiful, but it’s also breaking my heart. On the surface, the book is about a falconer and her exploits in training a goshawk for the first time, but it’s also about her grief after losing her father, and it’s also about the history of falconry, and it’s also about life. And so much of it is resonating with me just now.
Secretly, I’ve always wanted to be a falconer.
This book came to me on the heels of another highly-rated, highly recommended book, one I didn’t finish. I wanted to love The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo, (I mean, it even has the word magic in the title!) but about halfway through, when I got to the point where she suggests getting rid of most of your books and putting the rest on a shelf in the closet, I stopped reading. Because, you know, books deserve a place of honor.
Even before that point I’d begun to feel like the book wasn’t for me, her approach is very extreme, and while I am interested in the “less stuff, more tidy” philosophy, I will never be the person who comes home each day and follows a strict routine of putting this there and that here in this order, in this amount of time, in the same exact way every day.
I’m the person who will drop everything on the kitchen table to go write down an idea before I forget. Or the one who wears her coat into the studio to check for email from clients and realizes thirty minutes later that I still have my coat on, or the one who will drop everything to rush outside and watch a hawk circling overhead.
I wish I could be more like Marie Kondo, but I can’t, and I’m old enough to accept this. And so, I stopped reading her book. And that’s not to say I don’t think it has value, she has a lot of good ideas and I may implement some of them, but, to use her own words, it just did not “spark joy” in me. I let her book go, along with my hopes for a tidier life.
I’m messy. I will always be messy. Life will always be messy.
With H is for Hawk, while I am loving the book and falling in love with a bird, I’m letting go of something else. A dream.
I’d never really thought about the details of falconry. Of course I knew there had to be raw meat involved–which would pose a problem for me from the get-go–but what I hadn’t ever really considered was the most basic of facts. Being a falconer means holding a bird captive. I know, it’s silly that I never thought about this aspect, it’s so obvious, but I’d only ever thought of how thrilling it would be to hold a hawk on your arm, to have it fly away and return to that very same spot. How fabulous.
But I could never do the captivity thing. I couldn’t do that to a bird whose very freedom to soar is the thing I most love and admire. I can’t even go to the zoo, because it breaks my heart.
With this realization, I let go of my dream to be a falconer.
More and more often, I find myself letting go. Of books I have no desire to finish, dreams I have no compunction to follow, and things I have no use for. I like to think that means I’m opening up space for other pursuits, and perhaps that’s the truth. I’d also like to think it means I’m getting wiser.
I’ll never stop loving hawks. I’ll also never have a perfectly tidy house. And I’m okay with that.
Someday, if I’m lucky, perhaps I will find a way to hold someone else’s hawk on my arm, just once. But if not, I’m okay with that, too.
I’ll still be who I am, messy and grounded and a little bit dreamy.
I’ll still have words to take me high into the sky.
I’ll still have my own version of wings.
.So tell me, what are you reading lately?
the power of lost
armored over and
in time’s musty
or is it hope
in smooth treasure box
for polish and
to crack wide open
The things I’ve forgotten, the messes I’ve made,
the dried-up, brittle-boned detritus of survival.
Perhaps I left it out as a reminder.
A forecast. A prediction.
Or a testament to who I really am,
beneath the soil of wasted hour and wanted nutrient.
Parched or drowning, depending on the weather.
Somehow, even so, I will bloom.
the moon kept me awake last night
or perhaps it was the clock-tampering
or the book i couldn’t put down
outside my window
shadows of branch and ice
looked enough like a forest
to quieten my mind
and i wandered
through fields of forced memory
wildflower whispers telling stories
long ago named forgotten
in the silence never silent
i listened to the music of this house
a symphony of survival and
keeping time with tapping toe
and misplaced sigh
tracking half a century of hours
offered and removed
buried warm beneath a quilt
stitched pretty by restless fingers
tracing pattern and loss
joy and forgiveness
worn thin at the edges
by sandpaper hands and
the scrabbling ghost tempo
of tender perennial continuance
“Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it.
If you can’t find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do.
~ Lisa Bonchek Adams
Many of you have probably already heard that Lisa passed away last night. Her tweets, like the one above, crossed my path daily for years now, and I always admired her courage, her humor, and her willingness to fight her battle so valiantly and publicly in an effort to raise awareness.
In December, a good friend and member of our family–the same age as I am–was taken very quickly by cancer. I haven’t talked about it much here because her battle was private and not mine to talk about.
But today, I am reminded, yet again, how precious life is.
Just now, I know several other people who are also fighting:
an aunt, a friend’s mother, a friend’s friend.
So today, as I have on many other days, I thank Lisa
for the lessons, the reminders, the beauty.
I send love and hugs to those who fight.
And I remember.